Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ack? It's a good "Ack."

Ever feel like your life is a series of hyperlinks? Where you're doing one thing and you go off on something else and keep following link after link until you're doing about 12 things at once and none of them are finished?

Yeah. That's me.

Finally figured out where my next vacation will be (and since this 'blog tends to be at its best when I'm on the road, perhaps this is of interest to y'all). I'd been thinking about Vancouver or going back to New Zealand ... and while I'd like to do both of those things, none of them seemed right for now.

And, of course, since I'm an employee of the Great but Bordering Bankrupt State of California, I don't entirely know whether (a) I'll be getting paid in July (because if the Governor and Legislature don't enact a budget by then, we'll be out of money) or (b) I'll have a mandatory furlough. Actually, I can pretty much expect a mandatory furlough -- the real question is whether it will only be one day per month, or if it'll be more than that. So, with that going on, it's hard to tell whether I should take a big vacation this year, or follow the more prudent path of doing something cheap and (relatively) local. And, of course, if I actually wait until California has a budget, all those good vacation deals will be gone by then.

And since I'm sure you've got something better to do than listen to the blow-by-blow of my poking around the internet last night, trying to find exactly the right vacation, let's just fast-forward to the amazing deal I got on a cruise in the Greek Isles in August, just as long as I pay for the damn thing within 24 hours.

Which led me spending an hour (literally an hour -- my phone kept track) on the phone with American Airlines trying to use all my miles so I could fly out there for free....

.... and tack a few nights in London on there, as there's a show I really wanted to see, and y'know, broadly speaking, I'll be in the neighborhood. In a "same continent, anyway" sense.

And she can't seem to find a way for me to fly back from Istanbul (Istanbul! Sweet!) on a free ticket without somehow overnighting in (I shit you not) Helsinki. And I think that unless I sleep in the airport, I'm gonna need a freakin' visa for Helsinki just to fly home. Which reminds me to check visa requirements for Greece and Turkey, and that's all covered, so we're good there. And then she eventually finds a way to ticket it where I'm overnighting in Boston, which isn't nearly as, y'know, "Amazing Race"y as 13 hours in Helsinki, but at least I won't need a visa.

So, with the ticket set, I can come back and pay for the cruise (safely within my 24 hours).

And I sit down at the computer to do that, but first decide to make sure I can buy a ticket for that show I wanted to see in London. And I check that show's website and it has tons of available seats. (Yay!) So before I actually ticket it, I decide to see what else is playing in the West End, so that I book this on the right date. So an hour or so goes by while I'm putting together a list of, oh, seven shows I'd like to see in the four days that I'll be there. I realize I'll have to pare this down, but, at least, I've figured out which day I want to order the first one for.

So I order the ticket. And when I'm done, I print out the ticket confirm, and stick it my Magic Drawer of Tickets and Stuff. Where I see my passport.

And all that looking at visa requirements reminded me to make sure the passport is current.

Passport expires July 18.

Which explains why my web browser is now open to pages for: London theatre listings; booking confirmation for one show; a .pdf of my passport application; a google search for the nearest passport photo place....

.... and I still have to pay for the cruise before my 24 hours are up.

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